"The best thing we could do for our listeners was to stay in business." Interview with Richard Wheatly – Chairman of JazzFM

Richard Wheatly, Chairman of JazzFM

In an exclusive, wide-ranging, seven-part interview, the chairman of JazzFM Richard Wheatly talked us through where the station is, its strategy and where it is headed.

  1) The Love Supreme Festival and other live events



"Love Supreme was a much-acclaimed festival and we're repeating it."
"We probably put on about a hundred events each year."

2) The JazzFM Awards



"It probably ought to happen every couple of years... We hope we'll repeat the JazzFM Awards in 2015."

3) Leaving National DAB / Listener



"It was costing us hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. I felt I couldn't justify spending all that amount of money to reach a little bit over 20,000 people. The best thing we could do for our listeners was to stay in business. The RAJAR statistics yesterday had a record number of 680,000. 25% of people are listening to radio online or on their mobiles... Ithink it will be around 550,000. [But ] we could still be around 600,000."

4) The Marketplace for commercial radio and JazzFM's place in it



"We are really the only remaining national independent niche broadcaster and we are proud of it and we intend to stay that way The JazzFM [audience] is about 15 years younger than ClassicFM"

5) How do you respond to the challenge for a commercial radio station that jazz is the opposite of a format?



"We have a playlist of many thousands. You will never please all of the people all of the time. ....The audience is low at breakfast-time and it gradually builds. It builds again during the evening. In the daytime there will be a a higher proportion of vocals than in the evening."

6) Can you talk about the team now running the station? / Where are you heading?



"Nick Pitts and Rosie Kendrick are very committed, with passion. That's what makes JazzFM work. We are the biggest jazz radio station in the world. We can present them with this wonderful music in lots of different guises. We will offer you probably a finer assortment of jazz than you'll get anywhere else in the world."

7) The secondary schools music programme PWC Jazzworks



"It finds amazing talent. It's much-loved."

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